03/28/2015, 00.00
INDIA
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Protestant leader demands protection during Holy Week from radical Hindu attacks

by Nirmala Carvalho
Violence against individual Christians and Churches continues unabated. Near Agra, a group of Protestants, who met to pray for an elderly woman, were beaten and accused of trying to convert the family.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – "As we take part in the ceremonies of the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we demand protection and security for our defenceless Christian communities,” said Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), in a plea to the National Commission for Minorities in India, following a spate of anti-Christian acts by Hindu radicals.

"Christians in India are very apprehensive at the slowness of the criminal justice system when Christians are attacked,” the GCIC president told AsiaNews. “The faithful,” he added, “are very afraid, and feel insecure.”

Noting that anti-Christian violence is widespread across the country, like in the case of the elderly nun raped in West Bengal, he pointed to the latest outrage occurred in Rajapur Chungi, near Agra.

On Wednesday, Anil Jatav, 48, had invited various clerics, asking for special prayers for his mother. The latter is in her seventies and very sick, and was hoping to live until 27 March to attend her daughter’s wedding.

Jatav called the Protestant missionaries because "they are famous for miracles." Thus, Rev Rajeev Jose of the Masihi Foundation, along with other evangelical leaders, came to Jatav’s house to pray. Other locals joined in, eager for the woman's healing.

At one point, after listening to the people praying, some men who said they belonged to the Bajrang Dal, a Hindu militant group, attacked and beat up the missionaries and members of the Jatav family, accusing them of using prayer as a smart way to convert the Jatav family to Christianity. The extremists also pushed around Rev Rajeev Jose.

After some of those present called police for help, local police arrived. In his report, the officer in charge said, "Some Bajrang Dal activists attacked, pushed and shoved missionaries during the peaceful prayer ceremony. The men claim that a process of conversion was taking place.”

After the incident, Christians filed a complaint against unknown Hindutva activists for breaking the law, and endangering the peace.

"Despite the condemnations of the international community, such incidents occur every day,” Sajan K George lamented.

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